C[O.sub.2] in soil easily measured.
|Article Type:||Brief article|
Carbon dioxide (Research)
Soils (Carbon content)
|Publication:||Name: Agricultural Research Publisher: U.S. Government Printing Office Audience: Academic; General Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Agricultural industry; Biotechnology industry; Business Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 U.S. Government Printing Office ISSN: 0002-161X|
|Issue:||Date: Nov-Dec, 2010 Source Volume: 58 Source Issue: 10|
|Topic:||Event Code: 310 Science & research|
|Product:||Product Code: 2813300 Carbon Dioxide NAICS Code: 32512 Industrial Gas Manufacturing SIC Code: 2813 Industrial gases|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States|
Lucretia Sherrod is a biological science technician who believes
that if the right lab equipment or procedure doesn't exist, you
just make it yourself.
Her latest creation is a modified carbon dioxide (C[O.sub.2]) analyzer. With this, she and her colleagues have developed a rapid and cost-effective way to estimate carbon decomposition rates by monitoring soil respiration. Traditional methods of measuring C[O.sub.2] levels are labor intensive and time consuming.
Soil microbes decompose plant material and release carbon for possible storage in soil. But microbes also "breathe out" carbon as C[O.sub.2]. The best scenario is when more carbon is stored in soil than is lost through microbial respiration.
Sherrod transformed a single-cell infrared gas analyzer meant for monitoring C[O.sub.2] levels in greenhouses into an easy and environmentally sound way to measure soil respiration. She can run 90 samples an hour, instead of 10 to 24 per hour using traditional techniques.
After a soil sample is incubated in a chamber for 3 days, Sherrod inserts a needle through the chamber's seal and collects a sample of the atmosphere for analysis. Her system easily makes room for add-ons such as an oxygen analyzer.
Her test can measure the C[O.sub.2] produced and oxygen consumed when microorganisms eat soil organic matter. She has publicized this test with an abstract at the 2009 annual meeting of the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America. She is also writing a paper on the procedures. Any lab can easily build the test equipment for immediate use.--By Don Comis, ARS.
Lucretia A. Sherrod is in the USDA-ARS Agricultural Systems Research Unit, 2150 Centre Ave., Fort Collins, CO 80526; (970) 492- 7352,firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Gale Copyright:||Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.|